The purpose of this paper is to present a conceptual framework that categorises the features and characteristics of the built environment that impact on health outcomes.
Design/methodology/approach - An extensive literature review was carried out. A total of 1,163 abstracts were assessed, leading to 92 papers being reviewed.
Findings - There is a considerable amount of evidence linking healthcare environments to patients' health outcomes, despite the lack of clarity in relation to cause-effect relationships.
Originality/value - The paper proposes a theoretical framework linking different built environment characteristics to health outcomes. This framework provides a structure to group causal effects according to their relation with design features, materials and ambient properties, art and aesthetic aspects and use of the built environment.